”I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry; He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock, and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3
I check off day number 12,410. Captivity has consumed the last thirty-four of my fifty-seven years.
Torment and harassment continue without a single second of respite. Insanity lurks like a shadow around every corner, ready and able to pounce. People - lots of people - are watching. Will I allow God’s love to lift me above clamorous circumstances?
Tomorrow will be day number 12,411…another opportunity to face limitation. My body seems weak and burdened by ongoing abuse. Others in this same spot have given up; some have even taken their lives.
Medical professionals have named my captor “tinnitus.” I call it deafening terror; private, reclusive terror. Few can understand my imprisonment to escalating inner noise. It’s like an auditory form of dripping Chinese water torture – only inside my skull.
Raucous, whistling screams (inaudible except to me) haunt each day and night, shoving me toward a pit of hopelessness. Sometimes I fall and tumble into the bleak, cavernous hole. I cry during the lonely night hours when the noise overtakes me; how can I sleep? I mourn during the lonely daytime hours when the noise masks precious conversation; how can I relate? The bird’s sweet song is gone. The wave’s gentle murmur is gone. The cricket’s friendly chirp is gone. My inner siren overwhelms these voices of nature. It is no less than a thief.
The cumulative pressure of enslavement sometimes implodes unexpectedly, without warning.
My Lord and my God, help me! Lift me…give me eagle’s wings! (Isaiah 40:31)
The familiar panic attacks my soul…the shrill pursuer presses in…my heart pounds…I must flee!
There is no hiding from this beast! What am I to do??
Time crawls, inviting further entrapment. I wait for deliverance.
How can I endure this dark pit? Take me to some higher place! I am desperate for rescue, Lord!
Child, child…I love you so deeply! My yoke is not heavy…my burden is light! (Matthew 11:30)
You are frightened and hurting…we both know that. But examine the evidence…tinnitus is also molding you, growing you, drawing you closer to Me. You already know there is a way to rise above, to soar within another dimension, even when you are most discouraged...the way of love! Let Me lift you there, transport you, enable you! Open your heart ever deeper…receive more of the infinite love I have for you…then go…share it with others…yes, even right now as you beg for mercy!
Remember Joseph – sold into slavery and then trapped unjustly in jail? (Genesis 39-41)
Remember Jesus – mocked and scourged and then nailed unjustly to a cross? (Matthew 27:30-31)
They emerged victors - as slaves to love.
Because I love you, all things continue to work together for your good, even torturous whistling screams that send you running back to My arms. (Romans 8:28)
Because I love you, every day of trial offers hope - even day number 12,411. (Romans 5:1-5)
Because I love you, the Holy Spirit gives you strength and power to overcome fear, wayward emotions, and destructive habits. (II Timothy 1:7)
Because I love you, ministering to others is your top priority, even those who may seem unlovable. (Matthew 25:40)
Because I love you, other people notice you experiencing hope in the midst of suffering. Your testimony bears fruit. (Matthew 5:16)
Because I love you, your life with this challenging affliction gives glory to Me. (John 15:8)
Thank You Lord, for reminding me of my focus: LOVE. Thank you for quieting my heart with Your quick and powerful Word. (Hebrews 4:12)
You restore my broken spirit with courage, purpose, and vision. I see myself through Your eyes – an ambassador grounded in faith, but also a cherished child who desperately needs Your unfailing love. (Matthew 18:1-5)
Tomorrow I will seek You and wait for You – one more time. You will come; share my anguish; strengthen me – one more time. I will predictably rise out of the ever-present pit – one more time.
My heart thrives in the midst of adversity because I depend on love.
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